certainly the case in Illinois, where VentureTech's broad range of IT and research-and-development investments are gathering momentum.

"The more we talk to business groups about some of the things that we have in the works with improvements to our business portal and improvements in the way that they can do business in Illinois, they are realizing that a state that's making these investments is a good place to do business," said Reynolds.

Now, however, she faces the task of ensuring that VentureTech remains viable despite Illinois' current economic climate and the departure of its creator, Gov. George Ryan.

At press time, Reynolds expected VentureTech to escape the current state budget crunch relatively unscathed. "It's very much intact, and we're very much on schedule," she said. "There are very few areas that are proposed to be cut - I can literally count them on one hand."

Meanwhile, Ryan, who considers VentureTech a key part of his administration's legacy, will leave office in January. Therefore, Reynolds is taking steps to make certain the program lives on. "My goal in this election is to educate both gubernatorial candidates so they understand [VentureTech's] success and the need to keep it going."